Last Updated on October 16, 2023
If you’ve never been to Mexico during Dia de Los Muertos, you don’t want to miss this amazing experience! As the nation’s capital, Mexico City makes the perfect setting for one of the most important holidays in in the country — Dia de Los Muertos, or Day of the Dead.
The ancestral tradition dates back to pre-Hispanic Mexico, with roots originating in the cultures of Mesoamerica. Over time, these traditions were blended with Catholic beliefs to give rise to the holiday we know today, celebrated all throughout Mexico.
The central pillar of the celebration is remembering the lives of those no longer living. Loved ones and family members take to cemeteries and each other’s homes with offerings of flowers, photographs of the deceased, their favorite food and drink, and other items that help to remember those who passed.
The celebration is so integral to Mexican culture that UNESCO has established it as a Cultural and Intangible Heritage of Humanity, and nowhere in Mexico celebrates Day of the Dead as vibrantly and passionately as Mexico City. This year’s celebration promises to be just as magical, poignant, and beautiful as ever, all of this a build-up to the actual Day of the Dead.
Mexico City Day of the Dead Schedule
The month-long celebration kicked off October 6, 2023, with the Festival de la Llorona en el Embarcadero de Cuemanco, taking place on the canals of Xochimilco, the Venice of the Americas. The evening show takes place aboard the colorful trajineras (gondolas) and includes a performance on the legend of La Llorona (The Crying Woman).
On October 18, the Festival de las Flores de Cempasúchil takes over Paseo de la Reforma with thousands of brilliantly colored marigolds illuminating the path of the dead. It is estimated that five million marigold flowers will be produced this season.
October 21 marks one of the most highly anticipated events of Day of the Dead in Mexico City — the Desfile de Alebrijes Monumentales, a parade of giant puppets that measure up to eight feet tall. These alebrijes are brightly-colored gorgeous works of art that blur the lines between reality and surrealism and have become one of the most time-honored traditions of Mexico City’s Day of the Dead.
The parade is a precursor to the next event as October 22 begins the Mega Procesion de Catrinas. This spectacle is a massive parade that begins at the Angel of Independence in Reforma and ends at the Zocalo, in the heart of the Centro Historico.
Hundreds of gorgeous catrinas take to the streets, with hauntingly beautiful painted faces, elaborate costumes, flowers, and music. La Catrina is the primary figure of Day of the Dead, a representation of an Aztec figure, The Goddess of Death, who was later popularized by engraver Jose Guadalupe Posada.
On October 26, engines will rev at the Formula 1 Mexico City Grand Prix, one of the most important events in professional car racing.
Celebrated between October 31 and November 5, this is when offerings are made to the dearly departed. In Mexico City, the Zocalo hosts an Ofrenda Monumental, or massive offering that fills the entire plaza with altars, flowers, incense, photographs, and much more. Thousands take to the streets dressed as zombies for another festive, colorful, decked-out parade.
Though celebrations are held in every city across Mexico, there’s no better place to experience Dia de Los Muertos than in this beautiful, vibrant, exciting capital city.
Mexico City is one of the easiest destinations to access, thanks to thousands of non-stop flights from around the world, as well as those within Mexico.
Benito Juarez International Airport is one of the main hubs of Latin America, with direct U.S. flights from Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Chicago, Dallas, San Francisco, Atlanta, San Antonio, Orlando, Las Vegas, Newark, Denver, Austin, Detroit, Minneapolis, Phoenix, Salt Lake City, Seattle, Washington, D.C., Charlotte, Oakland, and Sacramento.